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The Marcellus Shale, Explained

Background

Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped, after the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

Latest Posts

Energy Secretary Rick Perry faces tough sell on coal and nuke subsidies

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry continues to defend his plan to have ratepayers subsidize coal and nuclear production in the face of greater competition from cheap natural gas and growing renewables. Perry took his message to the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia Friday morning. He left quickly, without taking audience questions. Following a panel [...]

Water problems persist along Mariner East pipeline route despite court intervention

Water impacts continue at numerous Pennsylvania sites where Sunoco is building the Mariner East 2 pipeline two months after a court-brokered agreement. The settlement between environmental groups and Sunoco Pipeline was designed to prevent horizontal directional drilling from damaging aquifers and spilling fluid into wetlands. Data from the Department of Environmental Protection show 18 “inadvertent [...]

Pipeline critics say blog post seeks to discredit them with ‘fake news’

Opponents of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 and other pipelines have disavowed an anonymous blog post that linked them to a supposed attack on construction equipment used for the Pennsylvania pipeline. The post, with the headline “Action Against Mariner East 2 Pipeline” had originally claimed an act of sabotage was done in solidarity with groups opposing [...]

Last two Dimock families settle lawsuit with Cabot over water

Two Pennsylvania families have settled a lawsuit against a major natural gas producer, ending an almost decade-long fight over alleged water contamination in the northeast Pennsylvania town of Dimock. The families were among 15 who sued Cabot Oil & Gas in 2009, claiming that fracking for natural gas had contaminated their drinking water wells in [...]

Pipeline opponents sue Sunoco, alleging constitutional violations

Four opponents of the Mariner East 2 pipeline sued Sunoco Pipeline and its parent, Energy Transfer Partners, in federal court on Monday, alleging the company violated several constitutional rights when police arrested the plaintiffs on a private property in Huntingdon County. The suit accuses Sunoco, plus a private security firm, a publicist, and 27 state [...]

Delco homeowners ask court to halt Mariner East 2 pipeline construction

A Delaware County homeowners association is asking an appeals court to halt local work on the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline until its builder, Sunoco Pipeline, finds a way to stop disturbance of contaminated soil at the site. The Andover Homeowners Association in Thornbury Township says construction on the edge of its upscale 39-home development [...]

AP: DRBC planning to propose permanent fracking ban

The Delaware River Basin Commission plans to propose a permanent ban on fracking, according to a report by the Associated Press. The AP cited an anonymous source within the DRBC, who said the agency planned an announcement on Friday. DRBC spokesman Clarke Rupert, would not comment other than to refer to the official DRBC agenda [...]

Sunoco contractors challenge residents’ presence on pipeline right-of-way

On a rainy Saturday afternoon in Delaware County, three residents of Thornbury Township stepped over a spray-painted line marking the edge of a right-of-way where a contractor for Sunoco Pipeline was preparing land for construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. The response from one of about eight hard-hatted workers was immediate: he got on [...]

DOE grid report says shale gas to blame for coal plant closures

The Department of Energy says coal and nuclear are still needed to support the nation’s power grid, and the main reason for coal plant closures results from abundant, cheap shale gas production. The report had been ordered by Trump’s Secretary of Energy Rick Perry who backs coal and has said solar and wind threatened the [...]

Lawmaker asks Pa. attorney general to investigate pro-pipeline emails

Hundreds of emails in support of the Mariner East 2 pipeline have been sent to the office of a state lawmaker in the names of individual residents, some of whom deny sending them. State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, a Delaware County Democrat who has been an outspoken critic of the Sunoco Pipeline project, said Monday she [...]

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